Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of posts on various platforms about writing a letter to your younger self. Not only on social media and blog posts, but even in the day-to-day, in the course of weekday drinking. Not that I do that much. Often.
A letter to my younger self. It would never have occurred to me. Before you start worrying about another batch of self-indulgent rambling (yes, there will be plenty of that) I’m not going to write a letter to my younger self. It strikes me as an exercise in futility. In the absence of a time machine, what would be the point?
The lessons and experience I have gleaned over the years have taken me to this point. All I could say to my younger self is do what you’re doing because frankly, I have no idea who might be writing this otherwise.
Arguably, others might learn something from what might be said to a younger self. Often, things don’t turn out the way you want them to, but that doesn’t mean they are supposed to work out any other way. And everything that happens to, through and because of you, goes to form the person you become. There are no mistakes because you are who you are supposed to be. Try to be nice to people, they can’t help it. That kind of stuff.
No, a letter to my younger self would probably sit on a shelf with an unopened gas bill, collecting dust and becoming brittle and yellow.
There are people, good and hard-working, respectable and decent people, who will complete a story with “If I’d known then what I know now” and all I can think is, ‘you would have been an unbearably precocious child’. Like a cravat-wearing toddler, blathering on about various world-encompassing crises and irritating the adults with an expansive vocabulary.
Not dissimilar to when people wonder what would happen if they had it all to do again, would they change anything? I’d probably have more coffee. Gear myself up for it a bit better.
Apart from that, if my younger self were actually to receive a letter from my older self, I don’t think my younger self would read it. She would be happy to read near enough everything, but not some borderline-masturbatory ramblings from a thirty-five year old who presents herself as me in the future, but is almost certainly, a weirdo.
However, a letter to my older self: I have written that sucker many times. To be opened at my next milestone age, and it’s always the same letter – Have you written the novel yet? No? You’ve spent the last ten years playing solitaire, haven’t you? You probably need a drink.